Anne McAllister here. And no, I'm not telling you it's my birthday.
It's Anne Gracie's birthday.
Actually it's probably past her birthday where she lives (that would be Australia) -- unless you're reading this very early in the morning in the US. But I rang her yesterday (or today, if you want to get technical about it, though it was tomorrow there when I did it here, um, yesterday) and wished her the best.
She deserves it. Anne is terrific.
Every now and then in your life as a reader -- and as a writer -- you meet someone whose books have such an impact on you that you look for every book they write ever after. You relish not just the stories, but the voice, the emotion, the wit, the characters, the turns of phrase.
Anne Gracie is one of those writers for me.
I first met Anne on the Mills & Boon loop before the turn of the century (the 21st, in case you were wondering). And I enjoyed reading her posts, found myself smiling, nodding, occasionally laughing. But I hadn't read any of her books at that point.
Then I did. I read Tallie's Knight -- and it blew me away. I can't tell you now what the story was about -- which may seem weird, but the truth is, I can't even tell you the plot-line of my own books. It's the emotional impact that stays with me. And it was the emotional impact -- in spades -- that has stayed with me from Tallie's Knight for years.
After Tallie, I read everything Anne wrote. And I've loved them all. Some, of course, I love more than others (these aren't my children. I'm entitled to have favorites.) The Perfect Waltz was my favorite of her series of "Perfect" books.
I loved the hero, Sebastian Reyne. In fact, I just named a hero Sebastian in his honor. Of course my guy is nothing like her Sebastian. My Seb is nowhere near as quick-witted and charming and sweep-you-off-your-feet spectacular. But he's my small homage to a hero I loved.
And now she's done it again as she's begun a whole new series of books with The Stolen Princess.
I just finished The Stolen Princess earlier this week. And I fell in love with Gabe. He's not Sebastian, but he's a great Anne Gracie hero nonetheless. He's strong and determined, responsible and capable, yet emotionally wounded, and definitely in need of the love of a good woman.
That would be Callie. Princess Caroline -- a woman whom fate has thrust into a role she would not have chosen -- finds her inner strength challenged by the circumstances of her life. The last thing she needs right now is a man to complicate matters.
Except -- maybe she does. And maybe Gabe is that man.
It was a delightful, purely Anne Gracie tale of wit and angst and charm. I loved it. And I'm thrilled that it promises to be the first of several about Gabe and his army cohorts. They look like a bunch of guys you'd want on your side when the chips were down. I'm hoping Anne hurries up and finishes the next one. I can hardly wait.
What about you? Have you ever had a book turn your head and set you off on a quest to find everything that person has written? Leave a comment and tell us what book and author -- and of course if there were even better books by that author that you'd recommend.
I'll check back and choose one winner from those who have left comments. That person will get a copy of my last book, The Boss's Wife For A Week -- and a copy of The Perfect Waltz.
How about that? Anne has the birthday, but you get the present!